Southwest Indiana economic and community development organizations discussing plan to strengthen, simplify services

In an effort to more fully harness their expertise, energy and resources, three area organizations focused on the growth and prosperity of the region are actively exploring a merger. The organizations involved in this discussion are the Economic Development Coalition (EDC) of Southwest Indiana, the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (GAGE), and the Southwest Indiana Chamber.

Board members for all three organizations have been briefed on the merger concept, and there is agreement among all three boards to continue actively exploring the opportunity. If a merger occurs it would be anticipated by mid-year 2021.

“The overarching goal is regional alignment and collaboration that extends well beyond the three organizations involved in the merger,” said Greg Wathen, president and CEO of the EDC. “If the merger occurs, it will enable us to more effectively and efficiently utilize taxpayer resources to provide high impact services.”

“Many of the essential services required to drive growth and opportunity throughout our region are currently housed within these three organizations,” noted Southwest Indiana Chamber President & CEO Tara Barney. “That’s why this merger concept makes so much sense for the entire community.”

GAGE Board Chair Brad Ellsworth noted the high degree of collaboration among the three organizations. “We have a long history of working side-by-side, and many times arm-in-arm, to drive the growth and prosperity of our region,” Ellsworth said.

Assuming the merger plan comes to fruition, plans are for the new organization to be housed in Downtown Evansville. No decisions have yet been made about the new organizational structure or specific roles and responsibilities within that structure.

About the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana

The Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana acts as the marketing arm and regional economic development organization for Gibson, Posey, Vanderburgh, and Warrick Counties in Southwest Indiana.  Since its formation in late 2006, the Coalition has helped to secure over $3.2 billion in new investment and 4,213 new jobs from existing and new companies such as Haier America, Berry Global, Toyota Boshoku, Reckitt Benckiser, Midwest Fertilizer and AT&T.

Another important aspect of the Coalition’s multi-faceted job description is helping the communities it serves build new capacity for future development.  The Coalition has helped secure over $118 million in grants for such things as expansion of water and sewer systems; building new community centers; and, making improvements to the region’s levee system, which protects thousands of acres. Learn more at www.southwestindiana.org.

About the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville

Headquartered in Downtown Evansville, Ind., the Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville (GAGE) was created in early 2007 as a public-private non-profit partnership through the concerted efforts of government, business and higher education.

The GAGE team connects businesses, talent, ideas and experts to elevate the economic prosperity of Greater Evansville. Focus areas include business retention and expansion; innovation and entrepreneurship; quality of place and talent; and new business attraction. You can learn more at www.growthallianceevv.com.

About the Southwest Indiana Chamber

Since 1915, the Southwest Indiana Chamber has been a trusted ally of the regional business community. Today we are one of the state’s largest, strongest, and most impactful nonprofit business organizations, representing a total membership of almost 1,400 businesses, organizations, and agencies. About one-third of members have invested in our organization for 10 or more years. While nearly all major employers in our region invest in the Southwest Indiana Chamber, 71% of our member businesses have 25 or fewer employees.

Learn more about the Chamber, our members, and the Southwest Indiana regional business community at www.swinchamber.com. 318 Main St., Suite 401, Evansville, IN 47708.